By The Associated Press
OXFORD — A federal public defender has asked a judge to delay the trial of man charged with sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge.
Attorney Greg Park says in a court filing Tuesday that he needs more time to prepare for the trial of James Everett Dutschke of Tupelo.
Dutschke is charged with sending the poison-tainted letters on April 8 to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
Dutschke, a former martial arts instructor, was arrested April 27. He is being held without bond in the Lafayette County jail. He has pleaded not guilty to five charges.
The trial is currently scheduled for July 29.
Dutschke is the second person to face charges in the case.
The first, entertainer and Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested on April 17, but the charges were dropped six days later when the investigation shifted to Dutschke.
After his arrest, Curtis said he was framed and pointed investigators to Dutschke. The men had met years earlier while both worked for an insurance company owned by Curtis’ brother. Curtis said they had feuded over the years.
Count five of the indictment says Dutschke mailed the letters “to retaliate against and frame Kevin Curtis.”
Dutschke has unsuccessfully run for public offices in Mississippi, such as in 2007 when he challenged Democratic state Rep. Steve Holland, the son of the Mississippi judge who received one of the letters.
He denies involvement in the letters.